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Magazines cutting online versions?

In a very strange turn of the page (pun intended), several large magazine publishers have decided to cut their online versions in favor of their traditional print version.  This may seem quite contrary to many of the trends we have been seeing in libraries, but the reality is that many of the publishers are too focused on maintaining their “safe” revenue.  One of the most interesting phrases was, “Revenue first, future later.”  The sad part is that this statement rings true in far too many of our failing industries.  Do I need to remind anyone of the crisis facing the auto industry?

So what about libraries?  If this trend spreads in the publishing world, will we find ourselves scrambling to keep hold of our online versions of journals?  What happens if many of our database companies begin to go “belly up” or hike the prices even higher?  I would be a sad day to see our users become disillusioned with libraries because they feel we are not doing enough to move into the 21st century. 

The truly sad part of this report came when realizing that the featured title cutting online versions was Fortune.  How can a magazine devoted to financial reporting fail to see the potential gains in online superiority?  Sad news indeed.

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